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Idaho senator shouts at students lobbying for birth control


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BOISE, Idaho — A Republican state senator who yelled at University of Idaho students affiliated with Planned Parenthood now faces an ethics complaint after he posted on social media Monday that the students should discuss “killing babies” with his Democratic colleague.

A dozen students, who had travelled nearly 300 miles (483 kilometres) from the Moscow campus, were in Boise for a scheduled meeting with Sen. Dan Foreman to lobby for a birth control bill. But Foreman abruptly cancelled that morning.

The group left a note and condoms in his office before moving onto other scheduled meetings with lawmakers from northern Idaho regions.

Later that day, the Republican from Moscow passed the group of students in a hallway and was recorded by several people raising his voice to them.

“Abortion is murder,” Foreman shouts on the video. “I’m a Roman Catholic and a conservative Republican. I think what you guys are doing stinks.”

The students were not at the Capitol to talk about abortion, said Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho public affairs director Paul Dillon. They were present to encourage lawmakers to vote in favour of a bill that would allow women to receive up to a 12-month supply of prescribed birth control and promote better sex education on college campuses.

Other meetings students scheduled with state lawmakers were peaceful, Dillon said, even if the lawmakers disagreed with their talking points.

Sen. Bob Nonini, a Republican from Coeur d’Alene, waved a rosary while talking to students about abstinence but did not shout or demean them, Dillon said.

Dillon described Foreman as “completely unhinged.”

“Even if you disagree with what we have to say, there’s no excuse for that kind behaviour,” Dillon said in a phone interview. “He was being a bully.”

Foreman went on Twitter after the hallway tirade and wrote that “saving the lives of my constituents” was his priority and students should talk about “killing babies” with Democratic Sen. Maryanne Jordan of Boise.

Jordan said she would be filing a complaint against Foreman to Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill.

“It’s one thing to disagree with policy, it’s another thing to position something like that against another lawmaker,” Jordan said in response to Foreman’s tweet Monday. “This type of behaviour is beneath the Idaho Senate.”

Ethics complaints against lawmakers are typically anonymous, so while Jordan confirmed she is filing a complaint, she did not disclose many details what would be included in the complaint.

The Republican’s Twitter account appeared to have been deleted later Monday evening.

Foreman did not immediately return a request for comment.

This isn’t the first time Foreman has been recorded having an outburst. Last year, bodycam video from the Latah County Sheriff’s Department showed Foreman swearing and shouting insults with an unseen and unidentified male on Sept. 14 — the first day of the county fair in Moscow.

“Go straight to hell, you son of a bitch,” Foreman can be heard saying in the footage.

The deputy then asked Foreman to move along.

Foreman has also faced scrutiny over an email response to a constituent’s concerns over climate change. Foreman called global warming “nonsense” and said it was a scam used by left-wing fanatics to raise taxes.